Photography Quotes

Before it slips my mind I thought I would share a brief excerpt - word for word - of a mini-interview I just completed for a fellow photographer that is collecting thoughts on gear, etc for publication. It's not published yet but assuming he pings me I'll push out a link to it for your amusement. The very last segment of the interview thing was about my favorite photography quote. Just being me I could not give a strait answer to a simple question. I wasn't being evasive or cute as might be interpreted by the more paranoid - I just let the first thing that came across my mind and that was not a simple and singular thought - as usual.

Honestly if I were devious I would go with the second or third thought that would come. You know something simple, some sort of quote that crazy funny or sappy inspirational or some contrived thing that just drips with pseudo-wisdom sprinkled with esoteric cool-ness. You know marketing shit. Nope couldn't do that. Don't get me wrong I am a master at spin - I can target and manipulate with the best all to accomplish some purpose. I respect that - when it's truly masterful and carefully constructed - not ham fisted and banal. Whatever - on to that last word-for-word bit. Thought it might interest some of you for various reasons.

Answer was as follows:

That’s a tough one as I have so so many. I’m actually quite the photo-historian so there are many that I just love but possibly for very esoteric twisty-turny reasons. With the way my head is wired I tend to prefer quotes that are not what one would consider “inspirational”. I take comfort in what for the most part are candid off-the-cuff moments that I can identify with deeply and have somewhat over the top feelings about. Things that make me feel not so alone in the world - less like some crazy outsider. Okay here’s a few off the top of my head.

It's (not) that I don't like white paper backgrounds. A woman does not live in front of white paper. She lives on the street, in a motor car, in a hotel room. Helmut Newton


Now to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. Such rules and laws are deduced from the accomplished fact; they are the products of reflection. Edward Weston


I’m proud of the two adjectives superficial and frivolous. Jeanloup Sieff

See what I mean… Strange huh? That’s the kind of thing that comes to my mind. I’m an odd bird. Here’s something to consider though. It’s not about the quotes - it’s about the history of this art and science and it is both. I consider it a travesty that many many photographers I meet don’t have the slightest idea that we stand on the shoulders of giants. My suggestion - go to amazon and grab a few monographs of one sort or another. Pick say 10 photographers from the 20th century who’s careers spanned 40 or 50 years - yes YEARS.

Any of um but more than just one or two. Turn off the internet. Spend a long time - weeks or a year really absorbing their career and their work not just blasting through thumbnails looking for something loud. Take two or three of the photographers who’s work really speaks to YOU. Read everything you can - biographies, memoirs, go look at a showing of their work in person somewhere. Look at what they were doing in the context of that time. Really get to know them as you would a good friend. Their work speaks to you because they are kindred spirits. The best education you can give yourself - at least a different and very important kind than you will get from the typical link-bait out there like “The 4 and a half SECRETS to not suck so badly or at least suck less” or whatever.

Just some thoughts.


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